The Committee considered a report which detailed the Gambling Act – Review of the Statement of Principles. Members were asked to approve the draft revised Statement of Principles for the purpose of consultation with relevant parties. .
The Principal Officer (Licensing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), introduced the report and in doing so informed the Committee that the Council’s current Statement of Principles under the Gambling Act 2005 had taken effect on 31st January 2019.
In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Council was required to determine and publish a Statement of Principles every three years. Therefore, a new Statement of Principles must be published by 31st January 2022.
The last revision of the Statement of Principles during 2018 had involved the Council significantly enhancing the content of the statement to provide more comprehensive information on how the Council approached its roles and responsibilities in relation to the various permits and small lotteries that it was responsible for administering and monitoring.
Since the Statement of Principles was revised during 2018, there had been no significant amendments to the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005. Nor had there been any major changes made to the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) that licensed operators had to comply with or the Gambling Commission’s statutory Guidance to Licensing Authorities (GLA).
In light of this, only minor revisions had been included in the draft Statement of Principles, at Appendix 1 to the report.
These minor revisions had included updating the introduction section of the Statement to reflect the current Council Plan and the strategic purpose and priorities it had identified. The introduction section has also been updated to reflect the more recent estimates of the population of the District.
The draft Statement had also been revised to nominate the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership as the body competent to advice the Council on matters relating to the protection of children from harm. This was because the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership had replaced the previously nominated Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board.
The list of consultees shown at Appendix B to the report, had also been updated to reflect changes to some of the Gambling Trade Associations and to include additional organisations involved in working with people who had experienced problems with gambling.
Consultation on the revised draft Statement of Principles would take place with all of the relevant parties, which would include those detailed in paragraph 3.15 of the report. The consultation would be carried out over a period of six to eight weeks. Any responses received to the consultation would be presented to a future meeting of the Licensing Committee.
The Principal Officer (Licensing), WRS, responded to questions from Members with regard to Wythall and Alvechurch being included in the introduction under urban areas. Members were informed that the information in the introduction had only been changed to include the update on population figures. Other Members commented that Wythall and Alvechurch were not urban areas.
The Principal Officer (Licensing), WRS, responded to further questions with regard to problem gambling and the effects of problem gambling on families.
Members were informed that the Gambling Commission were trying to raise awareness of gambling issues and how gambling could be a public health issue.
Certain gambling operators were required to assess local risks to the licensing objectives posed by each of their premises based gambling operations. They should know their local area, to avoid any wider harm or any areas of particular concern. Operators were also required to have policies, procedures and control measures in place to mitigate those risks and to record any interventions.
Problem gamblers could also ‘self-exclude’ themselves from premises. All licensed gambling business had to have their own self-exclusion arrangements to help those who decide to self-exclude. They also had to sign up to ‘multi operator’ schemes (Multi Operator Self Exclusion Schemes – MOSES), that allowed the public to self-exclude centrally with more than one operator.
Licensed gambling premises staff were also well trained to spot any issues or deal with any interventions, which could include asking clients who have self-excluded to leave the premises.
Public Health would continue to raise awareness. Good links / relationships have been formed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Principal Officer (Licensing), WRS, in response to the Committee, agreed to look at what local pathways were available and to scope signposting any local pathways and also national bodies that provided support for those that had a problem with gambling, via the Council’s website.
RESOLVED that the draft revised Statement of Licensing Policy, as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved for the purpose of consultation with relevant parties.